For many the idea of going green seems to involve over-priced veggies, unaffordable hybrid cars and expensive organic remedies. So given the price of petrol, the ups and downs of the Rand value and the price of most organic food (and food in general), how practical is it to go green on a budget?

For those of us currently lacking cash, a few simple lifestyle modifications can leave us healthier, wealthier and wiser. You may be surprised to find that many eco-friendly alternatives are cheaper ones too. Here are a few tips to help you save and go green at the same time.

8 Cheapest Ways to Green Your Life and Save Some Cash:

  1. We know you’ve heard this one before, but we can’t emphasize it enough: replace your standard incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescents (CFLs). Using CFLs will save around 80% less electricity than standard Incandescent bulbs. Plus, you’ll be reducing your energy consumption and CFLs also last more than 10 times longer than the standard bulbs (around 10,000 hours).
  2. Ensure your taps do not have leaks and make sure you close the tap securely after using it. A leaking tap can lose up to 5,000 litres a year. Also stop buying plastic water bottles. Instead, invest in a reusable water bottle and a home filtration system. Both these simple tips will save you money.
  3. Clean up your household cleaners. Choosing products made from natural ingredients with no toxic synthetics is much healthier for both your respiratory system and the earth. Instead of buying multiple cleaners for each different surface, choose an all purpose cleaner.
  4. Unplug unused appliances. Many appliances continue to use electricity while they’re plugged in, even if they’re turned off. This small change can actually help you save big on electricity – Energy Star estimates that 40% of the electricity home electronics use is consumed while the products are turned off.
  5. Switch to a low-flow showerhead. Even conserving that seemingly small amount can save you up to 7000 litres of water per year.
  6. Use rechargeable batteries. Conventional batteries contain cadmium and mercury and must be treated as hazardous waste. Rechargeable batteries last longer, cost less to use and help keep toxins out of the waste stream.
  7. Buy tyres with a long lifespan or buy re-treads. Discarded tyres pollute landfills, present a fire hazard and waste oil. When you shop for tyres, look for the longest-wearing types you can find and keep them properly inflated to reduce wear and save petrol. Re-treading saves about 400-million gallons of oil each year.
  8. Buy energy-efficient appliances. When it’s time to replace a washer, dryer, refrigerator or any other household appliance, always look for the Energy Star label. It ensures that the product has met energy efficiency standards. You’ll not only help reduce carbon emissions, but you’ll enjoy immediate savings on your electricity bill.